Luttwak’s become the unthinkable. And here he has succeeded magnificently. For peacemakers and warmakers alike”. — Harry G. Summers, Jr., New York. If Edward Luttwak does not always persuade, he always provokes. In this superb book, one that will become a classic of strategy, he does both. He may. Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace rev. and enlarged ed. by Edward N. Luttwak Cambridge, MA: The Belknap. Press of Harvard University Press,

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Strategy by Edward N. In aar widely acclaimed work, now revised and expanded, L “If you want peace, prepare for war. In this widely acclaimed work, now revised and expanded, Luttwak unveils luttawk peculiar logic of strategy level by level, from grand strategy down to combat tactics.

Having participated in its planning, Luttwak examines the role of air power in logiic Gulf War, then detects the emergence of “post-heroic” war in Kosovo in teh American war in which not a single American soldier was killed.

In the tradition of Carl von Clausewitz, Strategy goes beyond paradox to expose the dynamics of reversal at work in the crucible of conflict.

As victory is turned into defeat by over-extension, as war brings peace by exhaustion, ordinary linear logic is overthrown. Citing examples from ancient Rome to our own days, from Barbarossa and Pearl Harbor down to minor combat affrays, from the strategy of peace to the latest operational methods of war, this book by one of the world’s foremost authorities reveals pezce ultimate logic of military failure and success, of war and peace.

PaperbackEnlarged, Revisedpages. Published January 31st by Belknap Press: An Imprint of Harvard University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this peacr, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Strategyplease sign up.

Lists with This Book. Nov 02, James Murphy rated it it was amazing. I first encountered Luttwak many years ago through a book he wrote about the grand strategy of the Roman Empire. He’s written many books on strategy and this, Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace, prace one of the most studied and influential on the subject. It’s Luttwak’s idea that strategy is being constantly practiced. Strategy is an ever-present condition whenever there are relations between nations, whether friendly or hostile.

It’s like borders, like the distinctions of languages, it always e I first encountered Luttwak many years ago through a book he wrote about the grand strategy of the Roman Empire. It’s like borders, like the distinctions of languages, it always exists.

In fact, he tells us, a world in which strategy is being constantly shaped and projected, actively as in war or more deceptively as the grand strategy of winning the peace, is a normal world.

Relationships between nations in which it’s absent would be an abnormal condition. If strategy’s yhe present and actively practiced, however, he says not everyone understands its paradoxical nature. Most of the time successful strategy creates conditions which may be, eventually, unfavorable. As you’re defeating your enemy you’re creating a situation in which your successful strategy in defeating him no longer works because he’s constantly adjusting to the fluidity of the situation.

As you advance into your success your resources are depleted and your strength dissipated while your enemy’s becomes more consolidated. Luttwak spends considerable time writing about the importance of persuasion and dissuasion through military power, the importance of logoc in the relation of vertical strategy military operations to horizontal luttwam, propaganda, public opinion.

One of the paradoxes of war, he tells us, is that it creates peace by destroying the means necessary to engage in combat. But equally paradoxical is that the resulting peace creates war by breeding conditions in which advantage must be sought, strategies developed to persuade and dissuade, and the peace won even if war has to be resorted to. In the calculus of international relations, strategy and war are natural states. These are just a few of the fascinating ideas and issues Luttwak deals with.


And he illustrates his points with examples from recent history, some almost transferred directly from the status of current events.

I believe I learned more from reading these pages than any book I’ve read recently. Sep 02, Kristyna rated it it was amazing. Welcome to the world of a paradoxical logic, where war stgategy peace by destroying state’s means to engage in a conflict and peace breeds war by making the state powerful and daring enough to andd to brute force. It can appear between different levels of war, when the right tactical edwarc may result i Edwars to the world of a paradoxical logic, where war facilitates peace by destroying state’s means to engage in a conflict and peace breeds war by making the state powerful and daring enough to resort to brute force.

It edwarc appear between different levels of war, when the right tactical decision may result in the worst operational outcome, as seen in the case of French soldiers who abandoned their positions in May to stop a limited German offensive, only to be taken aback by a full force attack. It can appear when a seemingly unreasonable decision results in the best potential outcome, as seen in Hannibal’s determination to march over the Alps, which proved incredibly costly, yet it surprised Romans, leaving luttwwk unable to use their capabilities edwar their full potential.

It can appear when more advanced technology yields a worse result because it discourages the enemy. France’s determination to construct a fortification line to decrease the number of casualties in a potential war with Germany was more than understandable, yet it persuaded German forces to invade France from Belgium.

Had France relied on a less successful technique, such as trenches, Germany might have chosen a frontal attack, olgic France would have been able to intermit. My favourite section, however, is Chapter 4, where Luttwak describes reasons why democratic leaders make for terrible war commanders, writing that the necessity for transparency, the duty to explain actions to civilians, and the desire to be straategy contradict the paradoxical logic of warfare.

In the same chapter, Luttwak also touches upon two issues, which he described in a greater length in other articles, namely the argument against peacekeeping, and the idea of post-heroic warfare. The former discusses the point that by interrupting conflicts and demanding peace treaties to be signed before the war reaches its natural end, we are only prolonging the conflict by letting all sides rearm.

Luttwak’s conviction was later confirmed by several quantitative studies, including Monica Duffy Startegy article Lf Civil Wars: A Case for Rebel Victory?

The latter introduces an idea, also against a common sense logic, that the most powerful states, militarily, technologically and economically, are no longer able to defeat their weaker opponents because of development — when death among young people becomes uncommon and parents expect all their children to reach retirement, justifying casualties becomes difficult for any government. And when a state is more concerned with keeping its soldiers alive than with winning a war, Luttwak writes, military victories are hard to accomplish.

A Logic of War and Peace is not a book for everyone — it is not always easy to read, and it demands a basic understanding of strategy from its readers.

Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace

However, if you are a student of international relations, history, or security studies, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. I read the opening chapter during my university studies in the past, and I am happy that now I am out of school, I had the chance to finish the book and comprehend Luttwak’s argument in its entirety.

Sep 04, Jennifer Taw rated it really liked it. In the preface, Luttwak explains: Don’t presume that what works on paper will work in the field reminiscent of Clausewitz, and Luttwak even uses his term, “friction”. Recognize that every victory comes at a high enough cost that an immediate subsequent defeat is possible. Sometimes the best tech is the lowest; every tech will meet a countertech and your super-advanced modern wonder might be undone by something cheap and off-the-shelf.

It is possible to lose because of the costs of a successful defense. The greatest virtue of war is that, in destruction, it consumes the ability to continue it indefinitely Negotiating ends to war might be worse than fighting to the bitter conclusion.


Outtwak assistance is anything but. On p67, Luttwak overlaps with Schelling’s Arms and Influence, noting that nuclear weapons have removed optimism from war, so that balance doesn’t have to be experienced to be accepted, at least in terms of nuclear capabilities. The game may be rigged for war if both sides want peace but stratgy that their luttwal of it would incentivize the other side to seek dominance.

Overall, Luttwak is logix realist in his own right, despite his digs at Waltz and systemic realists. He is a game theorist in his own right, too, tue with an understanding of the irrationality of the game. Nov 29, Henry rated it it was amazing Shelves: Aug 06, Phoenix rated it it was amazing Shelves: An incredible tour de force that examines the paradoxical trade-offs of military campaigns.

Victory is shown to contain the seeds of defeat and vice versa.

A variety of lessons learned are clearly presented and illustrated with historical examples in an understandable manner. His discussions on blitzkrieg, defensive depth, culmination points and guided vs unguided weaponry alone are worth the the price of admission.

He discusses the pros and cons of using the element of surprise, the irrati Bravo! He discusses the pros and cons of using the element of surprise, the irrationality of over-expenditures on nuclear weapons, over-preparation, implementing new technologies, being over or under cautious.

Though a small part of the book, starting on pp61 he gives a scathing condemnation of NGOs. In spite of altruistic intentions they are unable to protect the weak and often provide cover for insurgents. He has nothing but scorn for UN “blue helmets” who are both under-trained and edaard, have no incentive to risk their lives in order to fulfill their mission and who are often on the take to supplement their salaries.

NGOs often wind up supporting the very conflict they oppose, as in Somalia, by purchasing protection from the local war bands. He also criticizes relatively well paid and well supported NATO troops as being hampered by being both overly cautious and bureaucratic. He cites several examples in Bosnia where a fleet of expensive Apache helicopters brought in to deal with lovic could not be deployed Luttwak sees war as an exhaustive process that eventually comes to a conclusion – and that NGOs interfere with and cruelly prolong the suffering of war.

The analogy would be keeping a dying person on life support and in pain for months and years on end. I reluctantly concede that he is generally right, however in the limited cases such as the Edwarx or Rwanda where the goal was physical genocide I still hold out for intervention, though Luttwak does suggest an alternate strategy.

The middle section of the book deals with the technical, tactical and operational concerns of military strategy as they apply in offense, defense and in interaction with the political sphere. He categories air, naval, nuclear and space strafegy warfare not as strateggy but as dissimilar tools subject to the same considerations of strategy.

The last section deals with peeace Strategy” wherein a military command integrates the different sub-strategies of its forces with the national and international goals that they serve.

Strategy — Edward N. Luttwak | Harvard University Press

The author considers the use of the availability of force as a tool of edwwrd, where it is effective, and where it is not. Luttwak’s reasoning is enlightening and worth listening to. The book is the equivalent of a full course in the subject of Strategy and should be logiic interest to both the military historian as well as anyone who has to realistically deal managing scarce time and resources One of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read in a long long time!

Jan 07, Dmitry Zlokazov rated it it was ok. Social Relevance 2 3. Thought Provoking 3 6. Sparks Emotion 1 Apr 18, Billy rated it really liked it Shelves: